Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 11 May, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
Browse content similar to 11/05/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
its close. Join me live for the ceremony of prorogation.
Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.
Questions on corruption at the last PMQS of this session of parliament.
The Culture Secretary is called to the Commons ahead
of the publication of his plans for the BBC.
And peers are told - in no uncertain terms -
it's time to give up their opposition to the Housing Bill.
Enough is enough. It is time to stop.
But first, to a rumbustious Prime Minister's Questions -
the last before the end of this session of parliament.
It started politely enough, with tributes to the veteran
wildlife broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough.
Since we often celebrate great national events in this house, with
the Prime Minister wish Sir David Attenborough are very happy 90th
birthday and thank him for the way he has presented nature programmes
on television and awakened the ideas of so many people to the fragility
of our ecosystem and educated a whole generation. I certainly join
the right honourable gentleman in wishing Sir David Attenborough are
happy birthday. Many of us feel we grew up with him as our teacher on
the environment and natural world. I am proud to say the Royal Arctic
ship will be named after David Attenborough. There was strong
support for Boaty McBoatface. I think the submarine on the boat will
be named Boaty McBoatface. But with the niceties over MPs
turned to the subject of corruption. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister
was caught on camera telling the Queen that Nigeria
and Afghanistan were 'possibly the two most corrupt countries
in the world.' Both states are due to attend
an anti-corruption summit in London. David Cameron's comments
were raised right at the start of Prime Minister's
Questions by a Labour MP. Even fantastically corrupt Nigeria
is asking Britain to clean up its act and introduce beneficial
ownership registers in overseas territories. Will the Prime Minister
achieve this tomorrow at the anti-corruption Summit? First of all
I better check the microphone is on before speaking, that is probably a
good idea. I thank the honourable gentleman for his question. The
answer to his question is yes. We have asked three things of the
overseas territories and Crown dependencies, automatic exchange of
tax information, common reporting standard for national companies and
central beneficial ownership registries so we know what companies
are based there. They have delivered on the first two and they will be
following an delivery on the third. That is what he asked for that is
exactly what he's getting. It was a subject picked up
by the Labour leader, What he will do about the UK
administers tax havens who receive large amounts of money from dodgy
sources which should and must be closed down, as should any tax
evasion in the City of London. We need a British government that is
prepared to chase down this level of corruption. This government has done
more than any previous government to deal with this issue of making sure
that our overseas territories and Crown dependencies are not tax
havens but behave in a responsible way.
The SNP leader at Westminster raised the recent
elections, before turning to the corruption issue.
The Prime Minister's government was elected with 37 cents of the vote,
so I am sure he would acknowledge the success of Nicola Sturgeon and
the SNP in being returned victoriously for a third time with
46% of the vote, the highest of any political party in national
elections anywhere currently in Western Europe. Mr Speaker, on the
anti-corruption Summit, has the Prime Minister read the appeals from
Nigerian campaigners who say our efforts are sadly undermined if
countries such as your own are welcoming our corrupt to hide their
ill gotten gains in your luxury homes, department stores, car
dealerships, private schools and anywhere else that will accept their
cash with no questions asked. The role of London's property market as
vessels to conceal stolen wealth has been exposed in court documents,
reports, documentaries and more. What is the Prime Minister going to
do about this? First of all I am delighted to congratulate Nicola
Sturgeon on her victory in the Scottish elections, as I'm sure he
would want to congratulate Ruth Davidson. CHEERING
We have something in common, because of course the SNP have gone from
majority to minority while but conservatives have gone from
coalition to majority. Next week he can get up and asked me how we
getting an ordering some new panda bears for Edinburgh zoo. But the
question he asks about the corruption Summit is absolutely
right. The whole point of holding the summit in London is to say the
action is required by developed as well as developing countries. One of
the steps we are taking to make sure foreign companies that own UK
property have to declare who the beneficial owner is will be one of
the ways we make sure that plundered money from African countries can't
be hidden in London. The Liberal Democrat leader also
raised last week's elections. Mr Tim Farron. Order! Order.
LAUGHTER However irritating the honourable
gentleman... CHEERING LAUGHTER
May be to government backbenchers, he has a right to be heard, and he
will be heard. Mr Tim Farron. I am fantastically grateful to you, Mr
Speaker. LAUGHTER I heard the Prime Minister on two
occasions this afternoon congratulate the numeric London,
Sadiq Khan, and I would like to repeat that myself. He did not
however apologise for his disgraceful and racist campaign the
Conservative Party decided to run in that campaign. Will he take the
opportunity to apologise for dividing communities in order to win
cheap votes? It is a great way to end the session, getting lessons on
clean campaigning from the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron.
The Chancellor George Osborne has been challenged over the accuracy
of claims made by Remain campaigners about the negative consequences
The Treasury Committee homed in on a warning that British
households would be ?4,300 worse off if the UK
The Chancellor stuck by his figures, insisting that Britain would be
poorer and less secure outside the EU.
We've had in the last few days and weeks tens of thousands of jobs that
will go in the city. Every household were soft, we will come back to that
one surely I expect. Interest rates going up, house prices are going to
slump. We've been told there will be an increase in terror threat to this
UK and it has all culminated in heavy breathing by the newspapers.
-- every briefing that led to the headline, a Brexit could lead to
war. This does seem a bit overdone. I'm just wondering whether you are
strengthening weakening your argument on its own terms by going
in for this stuff? I actually completely reject what you just
said, because the claims on the impact on the economy has been
supported by the Bank of England, the OECD, the IMF and every major
credible institution in the wild. The claims on security that have
been made were supported a couple of days ago by the two people who ran
MI6 and MI5 and kept this country safe for many years. The arguments
about the border stability of Europe once every other country in Europe
would echo. So I would say what we have done, on the side of those
arguing to remain in the European Union, is set out credible
opposition is about the very serious consequences for this country, our
economy, our security and our place in the world were we to leave.
The Chancellor was asked to explain predictions that
households would be worse off outside the EU.
?4300, this figure by which households are going to be worse
off, that is a central point about which a lot of noise was made. You
pre-briefed it, which was regrettable, and a number of
newspapers led with it as some hard fact, when in fact you have
explained today that this is a product of modelling, that modelling
is inherently a science,, and you are publishing a range which
reflects the lack of indecision and not setting great stalked by this
single figure, are you, Chancellor? I think the figure is what I
described at the time, the central figure in a range. It enables people
to understand the scale of the loss they would face as a family, and
that the country would face. It is echoed by similar ranges provided by
the OECD and London School of economic. As far as I can see,
nobody has credibly undermined the range we provided.
Jacob Rees-Mogg started by thanking the Chancellor
The man from vote leave was difficult to get in, I am grateful
you showed better response to Parliament on my own friends do.
LAUGHTER Bowled the is my right honourable
friend. These are strange days. -- he is my right honourable friend.
The moment the leaves campaign... The leave campaign has immediately
started to assert that public expenditure would be higher if we
left, that we would impose new tariff barriers to protect certain
industries in the UK... This low tax. This is your report with your
name on it. Your assumption. The whole we're going to be this superb,
low tax, low spending, low tariff economy if we leave the EU has been
somewhat exposed by the nature of the campaign that is being waged at
the moment. I'm about to finish. It leaves the suspicion that the report
has taken absolutely the best for remaining and the worse for leaving.
Chancellor, if I may, a speech made on the 17th of May 2010, you set out
the Office for Budget Responsibility. You said I am the
first chance to remove the temptation to fiddle the figures by
giving up control of the economic and fiscal forecasts. Have you taken
back control so you can fiddle the figures? No, not at all. We are
presenting scenarios here. But you can go and get independent figures.
You're watching Wednesday in Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy.
The last tussle between the Lords and the Commons ended
when peers finally backed down on the housing bill.
At the start of the day David Cameron told peers
to stop blocking the plans, insisting they were holding up
the delivery a Government manifesto commitment.
Ministers have pledged to build 200,000 starter homes,
to be sold at a discount to younger first-time buyers -
and to allow the sale of some high value council housing to fund plans
giving housing association tenants the right to buy their homes.
In the Commons the housing minister told peers it was time to back down.
This is the third time we have had to vote to confirm a key
manifesto commitment, so I do not intend to detain
I know that I do not have to remind the House of what we said
in our manifesto, as I outlined those commitments last week
The Lords have scrutinised the Bill more than adequately,
and I thank them for their efforts, but this is no longer scrutiny: this
Enough is enough; it is time to stop.
Lord Kerslake's amendment has two levels of problems.
It would impact on our ability to work with local authorities
to deliver the best, most cost-effective,
deals for replacement housing, and that could reduce the funding
for our manifesto commitment to deliver right-to-buy discounts
We received a clear mandate for that at the general election.
The Labour frontbencher said the Government's refusal to accept
Lord Kerslake's clause would "sound the death knell" for social housing.
The Government were forced to make a string of concessions in the House
of Lords and were defeated multiple times, showing the extent
It does nothing to fix the causes of the past six years of failure,
sounds the death knell for social housing and will be a big let-down
for people who are desperate for a home.
Council housing acid should not be used to fund the right to buy for
tenants. We should not be adopting this top-down policy of forcing the
sale of council assets. The legislation was sent to appears
again and the Lordships finally back down but not before the labour front
bench to the highly unusual attempt of condemning attacks on the cross
be here -- peer behind much of the opposition to the bill.
Mr Lewis says of this distinguished and highly respected public servant:
"Not only is Lord Kerslake unelected, he is the owner
of his own home who is trying to stop others from owning theirs".
Quite apart from the offensive language unworthy of a Minister
of the Crown, this disgraceful attack entirely overlooks the role
of the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, in supporting the voluntary
agreement between the housing association movement,
of which he is a leading member, and the Government in extending
He is owed a prompt and full apology.
Lord Kerslake himself accepted it was time to back down.
In the end, any contest between this House and the other place
That is as it should be: it is elected and we are not.
However, that should not dissuade us from making our case
clearly and forcefully on issues that really matter.
In this case the matters involved matter a great deal.
The underlying concerns about this Bill have been about its fairness,
its commitment to localism and its deliverability.
Most of all it has been about whether it will deliver
the additional houses of all types and tenures that this country
And he argued he'd had to balance political conventions
with what he knew about the lives of real people.
I give just one example of a family with five children living
in a two-bedroom flat less than half an hour from this House.
The five children share a single bedroom.
Will their chances of securing a decent family home be enhanced
or diminished by the passage of this Bill?
I fear we know the answer to that question.
In my view, it is the interests of this family and the many others
like them that should come first in our deliberations in this House.
And with that the Lords backed down on their last legislative
disagreement with the Commons - clearing the way for this session
The Government will publish its White Paper on the future
the shadow Culture Secretary called John Whittingdale to the Commons
to answer an urgent question on the corporation -
and accused the Government of seeking to destroy it.
The recent consultation on the BBC charter -
response to a Government consultation ever - shows that three
quarters of the public want the BBC to remain independent.
The BBC does a brilliant job in informing, educating
and entertaining us all, and four fifths of the public believe that it
Today we read in the newspapers that the Secretary of State intends
He is wrong to do so, and we will oppose any such revision.
He is seeking to turn the BBC away from a mission that has succeeded
brilliantly for 90 years and of which the public approve.
He did not like the results of the public consultation,
so he is simply ignoring them, but the public love the BBC and want
it to carry on doing what it has been doing so well for more
May I finish by giving the Secretary of State a bit of advice?
It is not too late for the Secretary of State to start
He will not be forgiven, and nor will his party,
if he continues on the path, which he has been briefing
to the newspapers, that will lead to the destruction of the BBC
as our much loved national broadcaster and turn it instead
into a mouthpiece of the Government of the day.
We have had an extensive consultation and have
I would simply say to her that they are legitimate questions
for tomorrow when she has had the chance to read the White Paper
rather than for now, when she has read comments
in the newspapers that range from complete fantasy to others that
are quite well informed but certainly not informed by me
We occasionally criticise the BBC for repeats and insist on original
content wherever possible, but I suspect we will have an awful
lot of repeats tomorrow from the Honourable
Lady, because that is when she should ask the questions
and when I shall be happy to provide her with answers.
Members on both sides of the House wait with some trepidation
for the publication tomorrow of the White Paper on the future
of the BBC, but the Government should be in no doubt
about the support for editorially independent public service
broadcasting throughout the United Kingdom.
There often seems to be something of a gulf between some
of the whackier notions floated by the Government via the press
One of the most bizarre must surely be the idea that the BBC should
desist from broadcasting popular programmes at the same time that ITV
broadcasts popular programmes, presumably,
the BBC should show only dull, unpopular programmes at those times.
There are reports that that remains a sticking point
between the Government and the director-general.
Will the Secretary of State reassure us that there is no truth
Following the lefty-lovey hysteria at the weekend,
Friend agree that scrapping the discredited BBC Trust,
asking for more transparency in a publicly funded organisation
and wanting the BBC to be distinctive and impartial is hardly
the end of public service broadcasting as we know it?
Friend, and I think he will find that our proposals certainly do not
represent the end of public service broadcasting.
Indeed, I hope it will be felt that they strengthen public
If constructed, the nuclear power station
in Somerset would be the first new nuclear plant
in Britain for 20 years, and, at ?24 billion,
The project's been on the cards for more than seven years.
But in the last 12 months serious doubts have emerged over
whether the French energy firm EDF is willing to take the financial
There'll be finance from China as well.
In the Lords, a numbers of peers had misgivings over whether the whole
My Lords, there is no economic case for Hinkley Point and there is no
The numbers do not work; neither does the EP reactor.
We need nuclear plants but we do not need this nuclear plant.
In the light of this, for the sake of the UK taxpayer
and the UK energy consumer, is it not time that we pulled
My Lords, I hesitate to disagree with my noble friend but I do
We need Hinkley C and there is a very strong economic case,
as I have indicated, in terms of jobs and the power
I agree that we also need other nuclear plants.
We are of course developing those as well to help us transition away
My Lords, does the Minister recognise that, with all due
respect, we do not need his noble friend to put the boot
The French Cabinet and the board of EDF are quite capable of doing
Is my noble friend aware that the Chinese also have a plan B,
which is to bypass EDF altogether and to build two smaller reactors
on the Hinkley C site, and to do it rather quicker
My Lords, are there not fears about the safety
Is it not a very expensive project and could nuclear provision not be
better arrived at by building smaller nuclear power stations
My Lords, standards of nuclear safety are second to none
The noble Lord is of course right about small modular reactors,
and we are progressing with that, as my right honourable
friend the Chancellor announced in the Budget.
We have had 38 expressions of interest...
My Lords, I am sure the Minister is well aware that the global solar
industry is doubling every two years.
In spite of this Government's withdrawal of subsidies,
there will be sufficient global capacity in 12 years to cover
Does that not make Hinkley Point obsolete?
We will probably not even have it built in 12 years' time.
My Lords, the noble Baroness is right on the growth of renewables
and absolutely right to highlight the importance of that,
as I have been doing repeatedly, without subsidy.
But she is wrong to say that we do not need a back-up,
That is where nuclear is so important and why
The arguments used by those campaigning for the UK to the within
the EU have an echo of those used in the No campaign in the Scottish
referendum, according to the SNP. The subject came up on a regular
round of Scotland questions. That is it for now but join me tomorrow for
the very last day of this session of Parliament. For now, goodbye.